But when politically expedient, the reverse snobbery card can also be played, as Rishi Sunak was pilloried for a movie clip from his youth in which he says he has no friends from the working class.
His parents sent him to Winchester; I doubt any of his public school classmates have hung out with hoi polloi members unless they’re showing off their fencing blades.
Mind you, it’s no surprise that the class system, like any other system, can be played effectively. Socio-economic gerrymandering is already common in organizations such as the BBC, under the banner of class diversity. Assume, for the sake of argument, that college-educated Candidate A went to public school and grew up with one of five siblings in a single mother’s council house.
Candidate B, meanwhile, attended a convent boarding school and grew up in a semi-detached house with front and back gardens. Mum was head of science at a girls’ school and dad was a bank manager before his untimely death.
I think we know which underprivileged candidate who nicely ticks the box will get the job. Which is great news because they’re both me! It all depends on how you spin it, folks.
Let’s be clear; any form of discrimination is wrong. Lazy prejudices bring us all down. But it is far better to promote a strong culture of general acceptance than to micro-legislate for every possible differential that may or may not affect an individual or be the least bit relevant.
Class is such a subjective nebulous concept that it is almost impossible to define. On the one hand, the average “class pay gap” in UK law firms, for example, is 44% between upper-class and lower-class workers – as defined by the parental income.
Yet a quarter of people earning over £100,000 a year across all sectors describe themselves as working class. Are they wrong? To deceive yourself?